Irish Aid calls for volunteers to join Rapid Response Corps

Group part of Government’s overseas assistance strategy in humanitarian crises

Irish Aid is calling for skilled and experienced volunteers to consider joining the Irish Rapid Response Corps as part of the Government's programme for overseas assistance during humanitarian crises.

The Rapid Response Corps, which was set up following the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, consists of a roster of experienced volunteers who are available for deployment overseas as part of the State’s response to humanitarian emergencies.

Irish Aid is now calling for new volunteers to join the 93 individuals with specialised skills who are currently available for 3-6 months work overseas in the event of an emergency.

Minister of State for Overseas Development Assistance Seán Sherlock highlighted last December the role the Rapid Response Corps had played in improving the State’s humanitarian response strategy.


“We have developed an innovative system to prepare for and respond to major disasters,” Mr Sherlock said.

“These include establishing a corps of skilled personnel, the Rapid Response Corps, to deploy to provide targeted support in areas including logistics, telecommunications, sanitation and health.”

The response unit has deployed 256 corps members to 45 countries since the initiative was first launched in 2007.

‘Rebuilding lives’

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan says corps members have made a valuable contribution to "rebuilding the livelihoods of people affected by emergencies around the world".

“For Irish Aid, the corps has become an increasingly important additional means of response to international emergencies.

“I am encouraging suitably qualified people to apply to be part of this extremely valuable and rewarding work.”

The response unit is looking for individuals with expertise in logistics, engineering, information management, water and sanitation supply, nutrition, and humanitarian coordination. Language skills in French and Arabic are also desirable.

Volunteers need experience working overseas or in a development setting and must be willing to be deployed to an emergency situation, including armed conflicts, at short notice.

When deployed, corps members work with Irish Aid partners overseas, including the World Food Programme, the UN Children's Fund (Unicef) and the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

In the past year, members have been deployed to countries like Kenya, Lebanon, Burma and Somalia, with six members currently in South Sudan, Ethiopia, Sudan, Malawi, Central African Republic and Jordan in response to humanitarian emergencies.

Since 2007, corps volunteers have played a role in relief efforts following the Philippines' Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, the drought and famine in the Horn of Africa in 2011 and the Haiti earthquake in 2010.

Potential Rapid Response Corps volunteers are invited to apply before April 10th, 2015. Non-Irish citizens are also welcome to apply.

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast